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Joe's Desperate Fight Against Deportation — Lawyer Claims Crimes Not 'Aggravated'

Feb. 25 2019, Updated 11:46 a.m. ET

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As RadarOnline.com exclusively reported, The Real Housewives of New Jersey star Joe Giudice is in deportation proceedings, and will almost certainly be kicked out of the United States after serving his more than three-year sentence on fraud charges. But he's not giving up without a fight, Giudice's immigration lawyer, Jerard Gonzalez, told Radar in an exclusive interview.

Gonzalez says he's fighting to prove his famous client did not commit an aggravated felony, which would practically guarantee he'd be deported.

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According to law, an aggravated felony applies to anyone who has committed fraud in the amount surpassing $10,000 and is sentenced for at least a year in prison for the crime.

As Radar readers know, Teresa Giudice's husband was sentenced to 41 months in prison and ordered to pay a restitution of nearly $500,000 for bank and bankruptcy fraud.

But Gonzalez insisted his client is not an aggravated felon.

"The question is, is he an aggravated felon or not, and we don't think he is," Atty. Gonzalez told Radar. "I think he's changed, I think he understands, and I think he'd do well if he gets to stay in the country."

But "you can be the greatest guy in the world... the way the system is, if he is ruled an aggravated felon, we don't get to hear how wonderful he is."

According to Gonzalez, Homeland Security at first mistakenly placed Giudice under the "arriving alien" category. But to be an "arriving alien," a person must be non-US citizen who just recently came into the United States. Giudice has lived in America since he was 1 year old.

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"That's how they initially tried to treat him, but that happened prior to his federal conviction, prior to any of his convictions," Gonzalez explained. "The argument was that it was not the right way to charge him. And it took many years for the government to agree and they finally agreed. It doesn't mean that he is not removable or or not inadmissible — thats what the judge has to decide."

At his first hearing in Pennsylvania immigration court, Giudice was told he had to provide "enough evidence" to prove he should remain in the country with his wife and four daughters.

His next hearing is scheduled for September 5.

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